A joint safety scheme in the Penrhosgarnedd area of Bangor, which urges motorists to drive sensibly and to respect the work of the school crossing patrol officer, has been recognised in a national road safety awards event.

Following concerns by staff, parents and pupils from Ysgol y Garnedd regarding the attitudes of some motorists towards the school crossing patrol, Gwynedd Council’s Road Safety team decided to trial a new scheme which sees the school crossing patrol, who assists the pupils to cross the road, wearing a body camera.

The innovative scheme – the first of its kind in Wales – was recognised at the Charted Institution of Highways and Transportation Wales awards. The scheme won the Alun Griffiths safety award.

Since introducing the scheme the attitude of motorists has improved, and there has been no need to refer any incidents to the police.

Councillor Dafydd Meurig, Gwynedd Council Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “This particular road in Penrhosgarnedd can be very busy, especially during peak hours. The work done by the school crossing patrol is vital in making sure that pupils arrive and leave school safely.

“This scheme, which has been developed jointly with Ysgol y Garnedd, has shown what can be achieved by thinking creatively. Indeed, Council officers have received several requests for information about the scheme by other Councils since it was launched.

“We are very pleased that the scheme has been recognised on a national level, and more importantly, that it has raised awareness amongst motorists about the need to respect officers who are doing such an important job. Congratulations to everyone involved in the work.”

Dylan Wynn Jones, from Gwynedd Council’s Transport Service, said: “We are pleased to have worked with Llion Williams, Head of Ysgol y Garnedd, and Arwel who works as a school crossing patrol officer. The response has been very positive since we introduced the camera and raised awareness about the campaign.

“We hope that we won’t have to make use of the technology and forward evidence to the police. Our aim is to ensure the safety of those primary school children who walk to and from school, and I hope any reasonable person would respect this.”

Llion Williams, Ysgol y Garnedd Headteacher, stated when he was presented with the idea of using the camera: “The situation has been worrying us for some time when trying to ensure the safety of pupils, staff and parents when they cross the road during the start and end of a school day. The majority of motorists respect Mr Arwel, the school crossing patrol officer, and only a few of them ignore him, thus endangering his safety and the safety of both pupils and parents.”

Arwel Owen, school crossing patrol officer at Ysgol y Garnedd, said: “The majority of drivers slow down and stop when I step into the road to help the children cross, but a few think it’s ok to ignore me and carry on regardless. All I’m trying to do is make sure the children cross the road safely, therefore I hope that this scheme will result in everybody stopping – it’s the children’s safety that matters.”

Dylan Wynn Jones from Gwynedd Council’s Transport Service receiving the Alun Griffiths award at the Charted Institution of Highways and Transportation Wales awards.